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Estado Falcón
Intermediate
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Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Venezuela

Vela, a word often used for “candle,” or “sail,” can also mean “wakefulness,” as in “vigilance.” It’s related to the verb velar, “to stand watch.” The name of the port city of La Vela de Coro refers not to the “sails” of merchant ships (as many assume) but rather to this town’s role as a “lookout” point for marauding pirates. One-eyed peg-legs are now less common, but the carnivalesque annual festival of Los Locos continues on.

Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Venezuela

Most English speakers have at some time in their lives heard Donovan sing “The Hurdy Gurdy Man,” but how many knew what such a man did? The woman in this video talks about a musical family that used to play the sinfonía, and indeed this is the Spanish name for the hand-crank organ known as a “hurdy gurdy.”

Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Venezuela

It’s quite possible that El Día de Los Locos, as celebrated in La Vela de Coro, has its roots as far back as the Roman Empire, which celebrated Saturnalia at the same time of year. Both festivals, historically, involve turning the social order on its head, with slaves dressing like their masters.

Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Venezuela

La Vela is a small town in the state of Falcón, on the northwest coast of Venezuela, where every December 28th Los Locos [“The Crazy Ones”] arrive wearing colorful and elaborated costumes. The whole town becomes a party, with businesses closing and people dancing in the streets. It’s a tradition that could be in any magical realism novel and that desperately struggles to not fall into oblivion.

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